Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr. Discusses Nuclear Disarmament
Web Editor - Published: December 2, 2011

“It has to be controlled. It must be controlled for our generation and future generations to survive,” said former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr. of nuclear weapons technology on the evening of Tuesday, November 29th in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom on Widener Law’s Delaware campus.

Graham’s remarks came as part of an event put together by the student-run International Law Society and co-sponsored by the Delaware Chapter of People to People International. Widener Law adjunct professor Jonathan Grahoff interviewed the former ambassador in a conversational setting following a brief welcome from Kevin Krauss, the President of the International Law Society.

A recognized authority on arms control agreements, Graham served as Special Representative of the President for Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament under President Bill Clinton from 1994-1997 and has been a senior U.S. diplomat involved in the negotiation of every major international arms control and non-proliferation agreement for the past 30 years. His work included contributions to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) Treaties, the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) Treaties, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

“Ambassador Graham since the 1970s has been one of the most prominent architects of protecting the world,” said professor Granoff as he opened the interview, adding, “That’s a very strong statement, and the substance of it is backed up by the following evidence,” before listing Graham’s distinguished diplomatic accomplishments.

Granoff’s first question focused on where the Ambassador came from, and Graham mentioned that he came from Lousiville, Kentucky originally. He then provided a brief summary of his upbringing, concluding with his education at first Princeton University and later Harvard Law School. Graham then answered a question about his interest in international affairs that led him to discuss his twenty-seven years at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

Graham also discussed the historical context of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and his involvement in securing the treaty’s indefinite extension. “Over time, we did convince just about everybody to go along with making the treaty permanent,” he said of the extended efforts.

Additional topics of conversation included the nature of nuclear weapons and just how devastating they are, how nuclear weapons are made, and the status of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Following the interview, Ambassador Graham took a few questions from the audience, touching on how to enforce treaties and how to deal with “rogue” nations such as Iran or North Korea.